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Mank

This biopic stars Gary Oldman as Herman Mankiewicz, who co-wrote with Orson Welles the screenplay for Citizen Kane. The film starts after a serious car accident sends Mank to Victorville, CA in seclusion to recover and to write the screenplay for Citizen Kane in 60 days. The film then moves back and forth between the present day and the era during which he became more well-known in Hollywood and the days of his friendship with William Randolph Hearst and his much younger mistress Marion (played brilliantly by Amanda Seyfried). I liked the film a lot. It is shot in black and white, and the coloring, as well as the music, captured the look and feel of films from that era. The story illuminates the politics of Hollywood during the era. Gary Oldman makes an excellent Mank. I was never sure I understood Mank’s history very well, and I found it confusing to understand at times how exactly he made his ascent in Hollywood. There is also a lot of political activity primarily related to his interest in socialism that felt incomplete. It helped that I stopped during the film and went to Wikipedia to read more about him to help with some of the context I expected from the movie. It did at least come away with the impression that Mank had been practicing all of his life to write Citizen Kane.  Thumbs up from me for a film that isn’t perfect but is entertaining and features award-worthy performances from Oldman and Seyfried as well as exceptional sound and editing. This film should pick up a few Oscar nominations. (2020; 4 Stars)

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